Physics 494, Autumn 2015
Senior Seminar: Current Problems in Physics

Topic selection

Sources for possible physics topics:


·         Physics, highlights exceptional papers from the Physical Review journals.

·         Physics Today web site, the magazine of the American Physical Society, which has monthly reports on new and interesting developments.

·         Science News, web site of Science, journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

·         Scientific American web site.

·         New Scientist web site.

·         Past University of Washington Physics Colloquia


Hint:  You may want to peruse our department’s research websites for research topics that interest you. By doing your paper on one of the local research topics you can get expert help and you put yourself into a good position to land some independent studies project.


Other sample topics are:

Extrasolar planet search
Long baseline interferometry
Evidence for dark matter
Evidence for dark energy
Microwave background radiation
Large-scale structure in the universe
Evidence for supermassive black holes
Axion detection

Gamma ray bursters and detection

Atomic Physics
Quantum Computing

Quantum cryptography
Bose-Einstein condensates in the lab
Atom interferometers
Search for electric dipole moments

Statistical Physics Research in Computational Neuroscience
Molecular Dynamic Analysis using Optical Tweezers
Biophysics of DNA sequencing

Folding of complex biological molecules
Nanopore DNA sequencing

Condensed Matter Physics
Nanostructures; how to make them


Squeezed-state amplifiers
Fractional quantum Hall effect

Carbon nanotubes


Elementary Particle Physics
Evidence for  supersymmetry
The International Linear Collider program
Search for proton decay
Search for magnetic monopoles
Neutrino oscillations
Neutrino-less double beta decay

Direct neutrino mass measurement

Muon g-2 experiment

Plasma wakefield acceleration

Energy Science

Carbon Photovoltaics and their Uses
Pumped Heat Energy Storage

Controlled Nuclear Fusion

Plasma Technology

Battery technology


Environmental Physics
Feedback mechanisms for global warming
Prediction of earthquakes

Gravitational Physics
The LIGO interferometer
The planned LISA interferometer
The B-modes to look for gravitational waves

Nuclear Physics
Evidence for the quark-gluon plasma
Radioactive nuclear beam facilities
Nuclear reactions in the Sun
Nuclear reactions in a supernova

Super-heavy elements